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 Chess Bitch is an eye-opening account of how today’s young female chessplayers are successfully knocking down the doors to the traditionally male game, infiltrating the male-owned sporting subculture of international chess, giving the phrase “play like a girl” a whole new meaning.
Through interviews with and observations of the young globetrotting women chessplayers who challenge male domination, Chess Bitch shines a harsh light on the game’s gender bias. Shahade begins by profiling the lives of great women players from history, starting with Vera Menchik, who defeated male professionals with incredible frequency and became the first Women’s World Champion in 1927. She then investigates the women’s chess dynasties in Georgia and China and interviews the famous Polgar sisters, who refused to play in separate women’s tournaments.

She details her own chess adventures – traveling to tournaments from New Delhi to New York to Shanghai. Shahade also introduces us to the glamorous grandmaster Alexandra Kosteniuk and current Women’s World Champion Antoaneta Stefanova as well as lesser-known players like the flamboyant Zambian Linda Nangwale and the transgendered Texan Angela Alston, and myriad female players who hop from one country to another, playing chess by day and partying long into the night.


For those who think of chess as two people sitting quietly across a table, Shahade paints a colorful world that most chess fans never knew existed.  

   "A thorough history of women in the game, from the fascinating Garbo-like Sonja Graf, born in 1908, to outspoken party girl Antoaneta Stefanova, born in    1979. The women Shahade writes about are, for the most part, interesting, dynamic and attractive, which gives
the lie to the stereotype that girls who play chess are nerdy and unappealing."   Liz Spikol in The Philadelphia Weekly

  Chess Bitch is enlightening to read-eloquent, playful, and beautifully written-an in-depth look at how several generations of women have cut their own paths in the world of chess. Jennifer Shahade has a gift for incisive portraiture, and her vivid account of chess stars past and present is lit with a lovely clarity of judgement. This is an amazing, pioneering book about genuine pioneers."

-Joan Silber, author of Ideas of Heaven (2004 National Book Award finalist)

"An absorbing account of the women who have infiltrated the male world of championship chess. Jennifer captures what it's like to be a female in the chess world, the passion we have for the game, and for winning."

-Irina Krush, International Master and 1998 U.S Women's Champion

 "In every generation a book comes along that shows us who we are and where we're going. This is that book for chess. With insight and artistry, Jennifer Shahade unravels the war between the sexes, on and off the board. Chess Bitch reveals the truth in a way no chess book ever has."
-Bruce Pandolfini, author and featured character (played by Ben Kingsley) in Searching for Bobby Fischer

  "Jennifer Shahade's writing is as powerful and fearless as her chess."
Paul Hoffman,
author of The Man Who Loved Only Numbers  and Wings of Madness

"With crisp prose and a hypnotic rhythm, Shahade runs us through a vast range of colorful, affirming characters. Chess Bitch is a worldwide trot in search of a common humanity, a precise critique and a wild ride that transcends its own subject."J.C. Hallman, author of The Chess Artist: Genius, Obsession, and the World’s Oldest Game

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